Bears Hit Oregon Trail
BERKELEY -- California volleyball is set for its first Pac-12 road trip of the season, traveling to the Pacific Northwest to face the Oregon schools this weekend.
The Bears open with a 7 p.m. first serve on Friday against No. 14 Oregon in Eugene on the Pac-12 Networks and face Oregon State for a 12 noon match on Sunday in Corvallis. Sunday's match will be available via OSU live stream. All fans 12 and older attending this week's matches in Oregon will be required to show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID prior to entry into Matthew Knight Arena and Gill Coliseum.
Cal leads both of the all-time series against the Oregon schools, 53-30 (Oregon) and 50-27 (Oregon St.).
MAKING HER BERG-MARK
The Bears return experience in the middle in redshirt-junior Bella Bergmark, who started all 22 matches at middle blocker during the spring season and led the team with a .296 attack percentage while coming in fourth on the squad with 106 kills. The Larkspur, California, native tallied 24 kills on a .556 hitting percentage over the opening weekend to earn All-Tournament honors at Tulane and continued her All-Tournament streak by making all three tournament teams. Bergmark is currently second in the Pac-12 (16th in the nation) with a .414 attack percentage.
BACK IN BELLIZZI
Cal got a boost last weekend against Arizona and Arizona State with the season debut of libero Gabby Bellizzi. The Ladera Ranch, California, native made an instant impact for the Bears, tallying a team-high 15 digs against the Wildcats on Oct. 1, including a diving, full-extension effort that led to a kill. Bellizzi added five assists against Arizona and followed with seven digs to go along with three assists against the Sun Devils on Oct. 3.
1K CLUB x2
2019 AVCA Pacific North All-Region and All-Pac-12 outside hitter Mima Mirkovic collected a career milestone during her first weekend back on the court with the Bears. Mirkovic hit 1,000 career digs in Cal's season-opening victory over Alabama A&M and followed by recording her 1,000th career kill in the Bears' win against Northwestern State. The Irvine, California, native became the eighth player in Cal history to hit the double 1K mark, following Lisa Arce, Jenna Brown, Jessica Dinaberg, Tarah Murrey, Alicia Perry, Angie Pressey and Tiffany Rochelle. Mirkovic was named MVP of the Pacific Tournament after totaling 30 kills and 41 digs in three matches over the second weekend of action.
SMOOT LEADS ATTACK
Katie Smoot is in her first season wearing the Blue and Gold and has quickly made her presence known in the Bears' offensive attack. Through the first six weeks of action, Smoot has recorded a team-high 187 kills which ranks eighth in the Pac-12 Conference. Smoot stands second in the Pac-12 in total attacks (588) and 72nd among all Division I players.
SETTING IT UP
The Bears had three setters record double-digit assists over the opening weekend at Tulane. Annalea Maeder led with 69 helpers in nine sets for a 7.67 assist per set average and Kendall Jensen added 27 while Jade Blevins had 10. Jensen turned in a strong debut season for the Bears during the 2020-21 spring campaign, especially after she was forced into the starting role after an injury to four-year starter Isabel Potter. Jensen started the final 10 matches of the season and tallied 296 assists to tie Potter for the team lead in the category, setting a season-high with 41 assists on Mar. 5 against Oregon State. Maeder, a freshman from Basel, Switzerland, has continued her strong start through the first week of Pac-12 play, She leads the team in both assists and service aces while ranking in the top 10 of the conference in both categories.